Article by Dr Marilyn Glenville
Continuing our Menopause Monday series, where Dr Marilyn Glenville answers your Menopause Questions
Does Coffee aggravate Menopause symptoms?
Monica: Can I still drink coffee during my menopause? I’ve heard that it can aggravate symptoms.
Caffeine is found in food and drinks, primarily in chocolate, caffeinated soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee and tea (balck, green and white). The problem with caffeine as you go through the different stages of the menopause is that it can make your symptoms worse.
Caffeine is a stimulant, which activates your adrenal (stress) glands, and as your adrenal glands are going to produce a form of oestrogen to help protect your bones as you go through the menopause, you do not want to overwork them. Caffeine causes a quick rise in blood sugar so contributes to fluctuating blood sugar swings, which can not only affect your energy but also your moods. And it can also cause your blood vessels to expand making you sweat more, which can increase the hot flushes.
Caffeine also has a diuretic effect, which means you can lose important vitamins and minerals through having too much of it. It also causes an acidic effect on the body, which means that calcium will be lost through your urine at a time when calcium is vital to your bone health.
In addition, if you are still having periods and finding that your breasts are very uncomfortable then it is a good idea to eliminate any foods or drinks containing caffeine from your diet. Certain substances called methylxanthines, found in any food or drink that contains caffeine, have been associated with causing painful, lumpy breasts. Methylxanthines do not affect all women but it is definitely worthwhile eliminating caffeine and seeing whether this makes a difference for you.